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The name Fauconnier derived from the Latin "Falconarius," a falcon or hawk, is given to one who has the care and training of hawks for the pursuit and capture of game, a sport anciently termed Hawking, but now known as Falconry. This amusement flourished in Asia long prior to the Christian Era, and was carried from there, very early in the middle ages, to the Kingdom of Burgundy, whence it was copied, with all its grand rites and ceremonious usages, into the various Courts of Europe, whose monarchs and rulers instituted large establishments devoted solely to its use. At the head of each establishment was the "Grande Fauconnier" (Grand Falconer), a person of great dignity and importance, who was of the nobility, and who had under him a number of nobles, gentlemen, and falconers to assist in the management of its details. He received his office by appointment from his Sovereign; it being a position that was accepted and kept in the family upon whom it was conferred, and that carried with it a Coat-of-Arms. The diversion became very popular, and was maintained by those of the nobility and gentry, whose means and positions enabled them to do so, for it was everywhere regarded as a refined pursuit, which those of both good and high degree ought to patronize. From being once prevalent in many lands Falconry has now fallen into disuse, the demands of modern civilization leaving but little time to become interested in it. Occasionally, however, an article appears in some magazine relating an instance of this pastime in our day, which seems to be engaged in more from curiosity and as a novelty, than for any other reason.
In the history and character of this amusement, therefore, is indicated the origin of the family of Pierre Fauconnier, the confirmation of which is shown by the fact "that he brought with him to America his Coat-of-Arms," whose design contains some of the technicalities of the art, as seen from the following description of it: "On a shield, a falcon's cage proper. The Crest, a hooded falcon on a gloved sinister hand, ready to throw off. Colors, upper half of shield, red; lower half, silver. Motto,'Omnia Deo Juvante' (All things with God's help). It was obtained from a seal on a document, recorded by him at Burlington, N. J., and which said 'sealed with my seal.'"
The family of Fauconnier dating back to the eleventh century at the least, is one of the most ancient and honorable in France, and throughout this country, in the course of time, many branches were formed, which extended to Belgium, Holland,* and other countries, including one in America. A partial study of the Fauconnier history, shows that many of its members occupied high public positions, and were of excellent reputation in their private and social relations. A few of them of prominence that may be mentioned, are: 1. The Sieur f Francois Fauconnier, born in 1597, who was Councillor of the King, and especial civil and criminal advocate at Bellac in the Province of Basse Marche; 2. Francois Fauconnier, born 1695, civil advocate of the Seneschal's J Court at Bellac, in 1746;
* Belonging to the Branch in this country, were:
"1. Marguerite Walckenier, born in 1553, died in 1617; married Rudolph de Ry, Burgomaster of Amsterdam."
"2. Corneille Hop, born at Amsterdam, June 3,1685, died July 14,1762, Sheriff and Burgomaster of Amsterdam, Ambassador to the Court of France, and Plenipotentiary to the Congress of Soissons; married at Amsterdam May 2, 1735, Rebecca-Jacqueline Valckenier, born at Amsterdam, February 14, 1697, died September 28, 1753, daughter of Pierre-Raust Valckenier and Eve Suzanne Pellicorne."
t "Formerly an officer in the household of a Prince or Dignitary, who had the superintendence of domestio ceremonies and feasts; a major-domo; a steward. In some instances the Seneschal was a royal officer serving as the presiding magistrate of a district or province."—Century Diet.
3. Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Fauconnier, Master of the Horse, officer in the "Regiment of Royal Champagne Cavelerie," was present at "L*Assemblee Generate des trois Orders " * convened in the city of Dorat, capital of the Province of Basse Marche, March 16, 1789; 4. Francois Fauconnier, Master of the Horse, Lord of the fief f of Age-Meillot, is cited in the verbal process of the same Assembly of 1789. These members of the House of Fauconnier were all of the LimousinTouraine % branch of the family to which Pierre Fauconnier belonged.
Notwithstanding there is much general knowledge upon the Fauconnier family, it is to be regretted that the researches made in France, for this work, have given so little definite information in regard to the immediate family of Pierre Fauconnier. The first of his name with whom he can be connected, is Pierre of Touraine (Limousin Branch), who, from inferences deduced, was more than probably his great-grandfather, and from whom his line of descent, on this assumption, is as follows:
1. Pierre Fauconnier
Born about 1535; married about 1559; died, without doubt, after 1619.
Son of the preceding, born about 1560; married Judith Normand of Germain, Touraine. The records of their four children, from the French Church, Threadneedle Street, London, England, are as follows:
I. Ester, married Alexandre De la Noy of Tournay,§
II. Sara, married Rolland du Poncel, and had a son,
III. Jean, baptised March 23, 1600.
IV. Jacques, baptised October 25, 1601.
Third child of Pierre Fauconnier and Judith Normand, married Madeleine De la Touche. "Madeleine De la Touche was a daughter of M. Grand Pre de la
* General Assembly of the three Orders, which consisted of the nobility, the clergy and the Third Estate (the people). This was an election for deputies to the National Assembly convoked by Louis XVI of France, and which opened at Versailles, May 5, 1789. These legislators were summoned to give France a Constitution, which was necessitated by the demands of the Commons for a redress of their wrongs, a proper representation, and to relieve the country from the burden of excessive taxation. This object was not accomplished, as at the end of June the King dissolved the National Assembly, thereby precipitating the French Revolution.
t Feudal tenure.
t Limousin and Touraine were provinces of old France; the first, in its central part, now forms the Department of Correre and part of Haute-Vienne; the second, adjoining the first on the north, and watered by the Loire, Cher and Vienne rivers, is now the greater part of the Department of Indre-ct-Loire.—Lippincott's New Gazetteer of the World.
I Now a town of Belgium in Hainaut, on the Scheldt.
Touche, a planter of Martinique, French West Indies, and had her nearest relatives in that Island." *f
Son of Jean Fauconnier and Madeleine De la Touche is the subject of this article.
Pierre Fauconnier and Judith Normand, his wife, several years after their marriage left France, their native land, and came to England, making their home in London.J He was a member of a family that was of good and ancient lineage, and which, long seated in Touraine, had always been distinguished by position, alliances and landed possessions. Like many of their Huguenot brethren, they fled from the persecutions and conf1scations, engendered by the operation of unjust laws, promulgated against them by the enemies of their faith.
Jean, son of Pierre Fauconnier and Judith Normand, went to France and lived at Tours, the chief city of the Province of Touraine, where his son Pierre was born, in the year 1659, but he eventually settled in London, some of the reasons for which are evident: to escape the educational restrictions imposed upon the Huguenots in France, and the penalties for non-compliance therewith; and that he could freely bestow upon his son all the advantages afforded for instruction in a more enlightened country at this period. In England, then, the early studies of Pierre were conducted by such of his fellow-countrymen as had also found there a refuge from religious persecution, and those who educated him were men of cultivation and refinement, for their pupil, in his letters and by his poetical and classical allusions, showed a preparatory training of a high order.
A continuous pursuit of learning on the part of Pierre, aided by his natural aptitude, made its results manifest upon his arrival at manhood; he then developing into a polished gentleman endowed with considerable intellectual powers and resources. His attainments were of a scholarly and varied character, and found avenues for their expression in the literary as well as the commercial world; he had poetical tendencies, was a writer of the light poetry (vers de society) of his day, which was then much in vogue, and was also noted for his fine and accurate penmanship; § but notwithstanding his accomplishments he was chiefly dis
* From a Monograph of her son Peter Fauconnier, by Mr. Arthur Sands, one of her descendants.
t The De la Touche families were Huguenots, belonging to the French nobility, and were early seated at Sain tea [Xaintes], Saintonge, and also in the provinces of Poitou and Guyenne. Many of them left France and lived in Protestant countries, where they worshipped God according to their religious convictions.
"David Digues de la Touche fled to Amsterdam, in lt>86, but eventually settled in Dublin, Ireland."
"Peter De la Touche, Martha, wife, Peter, James, and Mark, sons, were naturalized at Westminster, England, loth April, [l6 »3J N. S."—Vol. I Agnew's "Protestant Exiles." Translations from the records of the French Church Du St. Eaprit, New York City, "Collections of the Huguenot Society of America, Vol. I, pp. 193 and 199."
"1. To day, Wednesday, 5th of July 1732, after prayer, was baptised by me, undersigned, Minister of this Church, John Henrv Rou, born at New York, the 29th of last June, son of Louis Ron, Minister^ and Renee Marie Gougeon, my wife, being presented for Holy Baptism, by Monar. Jeremie La Touche, and Madl Charlotte Favierea, his Godfather, and Godmother.
L. Rou, Pastor L. Rou
Jer. last touch
"2. To day, Sunday, 19th of January 1735 after the second service, was baptised at home, because of bad weather, by me, undersigned, Minister of the French Church, Jeremie La touche, born at New York, the second of January last, son of Monsr. Jeremie La Touche, and of Madle Jeane Soumain, being presented for Holy Baptism, by Monsr. Joseph Haynes, and Mademle. Marie Soumain, his godfather, and Godmother.
L. Rou, Min Jer: Lat touch
The first record we have of a member of the Fauconnier family, taking refuge in England, is the following from Agnew's "Protestant Eviles:" "London, 18th and 19th December, 1571, naturalized, James Fackonia [Fauconnier?!, liardalice. his wife, of Hollywell Street, Parish of St. Leonard's, in Shoreditch."
§ He did marvellous work with his pen, so that as Clerk of the Council of New York he was greatly esteemed.
This gift of Pierre Fauconnier is largely in evidence throughout his career, and many specimens of it, still in an e cedent state of preservation, may be found in his official accounts that are on record at the State Library in Albany, N. Y. The great skill he displayed in this art was the reason for his private papers becoming scattered broadcast after his death, they being sought for as souvenirs of his beautiful and exquisite handwriting, so that it would be a difficult task to secure any of them which might yet be in existence. They, no doubt, could throw much light on many things in his history which are now unavoidably obscure. From personal knowledge it can be stated that this special faculty, in the greater or less degree, has been transmitted to a number of his descendants. tinguished as a man of affairs, wherein he displayed indomitable energy and perseverance. From our knowledge of him we find that he possessed great business capacity, was an excellent accountant, and had an extensive acquaintance with the public men of his day, and the political conditions surrounding him, all of which were instrumental in his advancement, to many private and official positions of trust.
Beyond these brief statements of the manner and place of Pierre's education, nothing further can be related concerning his life in its progress from childhood and youth to man's estate. In 1680, when passing into early manhood, he married Madeleine, daughter of Louis Pasquereau and Madeleine Chardon, of Tours, where she was born about the year 1657.
We next learn that Pierre Fauconnier with his wife, and children, had left France, and settled in England; and in this connection it would be desirable to know the amount and character of his possessions in his native land, and what portion of them he was enabled to bring with him, but in either place the extent of his property has not been ascertained. The exact date of his return is unknown, but he was in England a sufficient length of time to prepare for his naturalization, and by coming prior to "The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes" * he escaped the severities of that Act. The record of the citizenship of himself and wife, reads thus: "Peter Fauconnier and Magdalene (Pasquereau) his wife, were naturalized in England, April 4, 1685, in company with Louis Pasquereau and Magdalene his wife, and their children Louis, Peter and Isaac." f This was in the first year of the reign of King James II, by Royal Letters Patent from Westminster.
It was hoped that sufficient information could be obtained from England to describe more fully than is done Peter Fauconnier's family history and career in that Kingdom, but investigations instituted for this purpose were attended with meagre results. In regard to the former, nothing was revealed beyond what is narrated in this Work, but of the latter it was ascertained that his occupations were principally of a mercantile nature, as shown by the following communication: "A warrant was dated February 1st., 16^, for the preparation of Letters Patent for John Auriol and Peter Fauconnier of London, Merchants, for the invention of a certain machine for napping cloth."
This item, relating to his calling as a London Merchant, discloses to us that his operations for its extension were of a diverse character. Being at that time a young man with extraordinary energy and of a robust constitution, he was very active in seeking for the various avenues of trade whereby he might profit, and moreover, as an incentive, he had a family to support. As we know, he did not confine himself to the ordinary and private channels of barter and sale, but reached out further, and sought for public commissions, which endeavors were along the line of furnishing supplies to the English government. These dealings brought him into contact with the Commissariat, in which he saw service during the reign % of William and Mary, in the field abroad, under John Churchill, Earl (later Duke)
* October 18, 1685.
t Baird's "Huguenot Emigration to America," Vol. II, p. 63. In this naturalization his Christian name appears in its anglic1sed form of "Peter." The same volume at p. 64, says: "'Louis Pasquereau ne a Tours, fils de Louis Pasquereau ct de Madeleine Chardon.' It would seem that the elder Pasquereau died—possibly in London—leaving four sons; and that his widow, Madeleine Chardon, married again, and came to South Carolina with her second husband, Philippe Gendron, and his brother Jean, and daughter Madeleine, and with Pierre, Isaac, and Charles Pasquereau, younger sons of her former husband. Pierre and Isaac, like Louis, were born in. Tours; Charles was born in London."